The Version Interview... David Morrissey on series 2 of The Missing
The first series of The Missing, which followed the disappearance of Oliver Hughes, and the desperate search by his father Tony (James Nesbitt) to find him, gripped audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. It was nominated for several Baftas and received two Golden Globes nominations. However, when the writers Harry and Jack Williams wanted to take the story forward, they didn’t want to return to Oliver’s tale. Instead, they decided to explore a different side of what happens when a child goes missing.
Set mostly on a British military base in Eckhausen, Germany, but reaching as far as the ISIL battlefields in Northern Iraq, the story begins when a young British woman stumbles through the streets and collapses in the town square. It’s Christmas 2014. We soon learn her name is Alice Webster (Abigail Hardingham) and she has been missing for 11 years.
The Missing explores how a family, and a community, copes with her return.
Actor David Morrisey tells us more...
Why did you want to get involved with this series of The Missing?
I enjoyed the first season so much that I was really interested in the second series. And by the end of the first episode, I thought it was fantastic. It sets up the scene, sets up the story, the characters and their dilemmas. Like the first series, it's told in multiple timeframes. So just as you're reading it, or as you are watching it, and you feel that you know where you are, it changes. And the characters' relationships are different. Plus, there’s the thriller aspect. So I loved it.
What is it about the writing that is so attractive to you?
It's a multi-character script and that's what I loved about the first season. And it asks the audience to do some work. With the multiple timelines, you really have to keep hold of the different elements. But I think that's very rewarding for an audience as those stories start to unfold in front of you.
This series begins when Sam’s daughter is kidnapped, but what happens next?
It’s how our story starts, but we leave the time of her being abducted and go to 11 years later. We see the family still in Germany, still in the same house. They’re a family of three now and they're a very good unit. They've obviously been through a terrible, traumatic episode, but they've stayed together. And in the midst of this, their daughter walks back into their life. And it's how this family cope with her return and the bombshell that it brings. We then see the present-day storyline and the real physical destruction of this family. But we don't quite know what's happened to them in those intervening years, so the story's about putting those pieces together.
How has this journey changed Sam?
When Alice comes back there's a real sense of relief from Sam. He's overjoyed to have his daughter back. Even though the communication is difficult, and she's obviously very damaged, he's doing his best to build those bridges and create a home life for her where she can feel safe again. Then, in the present day, he's a broken man. Something else has happened to him. He has not only emotional scars, but he has physical scars too. We're left asking questions about what’s happened to him. What's happened to everybody? It’s a joy to play.
What’s Sam’s relationship like with his son Matthew?
Since Alice’s abduction Sam and Matthew have become very close. Probably too close in a way. I think both Gemma and Sam are a little bit protective of their son, as they would be. But when Alice comes back, Sam doesn't have room for him really. He's so overwhelmed by the emotions that are happening in front of him with his daughter, that he neglects his son. And his son is confused by that. And then something happens in 2014, which means our present day is full of blame. Sam has great blame towards his son. Great anger. And we are left wondering why that is. How did that happen? And that's what we come to find out.
What do you think it is about this series that strikes a chord with audiences?
I think what is interesting about both series is that you get to the personal. You see the protagonists and how these terrible events affect them, but you also see the ripples in the pool, how it affects other people, people who are wrongly accused or people who are involved in the story for their own ends, who have things to hide. I think that's part of the fascination with watching it.
The Missing returns to BBC One soon.